Jeers rang out in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court as a shackled David van Boven was escorted into the dock on Wednesday along with an accomplice for the murder of Jesse Hess and her grandfather Chris Lategan, three months after they were found dead in their home
“Vir wat wil jy my gesig sien? (Why do you want to see my face?)” Van Boven responded to courtgoers as they called out for him to remove his hoodie while he and co-accused Tasliem Ambrose left the dock.
They face two charges of murder and two of aggravated robbery. Prosecutor Emily Van Wyk said further charges may be added.
Van Boven, 31, is Hess’s second cousin on her mother’s side. According to her father’s side of the family, she always feared him as he had spent most of her life behind bars for the rape of a close relative.
He had been released on parole in December.
He was arrested in Struisbaai last Wednesday and had been on the run after allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl in Hanover Park that Monday.
Police had at the time identified him as a person of interest in the murder of his second cousin and her grandfather.
News24 understands he had been a suspect from the beginning of the investigation.
Neither applied for bail.
Hess and Lategan, 85, were found dead in the family’s Parow flat on 30 August.
Her aunt Sandy had raised the alarm after she was unable to reach them by phone.
A neighbour had seen Lategan slumped on the bathroom floor through a window, and Jesse’s stepmother Audrey Hess had found her naked body in the bedroom after breaking through the glass-panelled door.
The pair are believed to have been strangled.
No sign of forced entry had been found, and Sandy had suspected from the start that there was more to the murders than a random robbery gone wrong.
Only a TV set, two cellphones and Jesse’s backpack were stolen from the house.
Van Boven opted for legal aid, while Ambrose said he would like to represent himself.
The case was postponed to 12 February for further investigation.
Ahead of her cousin’s appearance in the dock, Sandy – wearing a T-shirt with a collage of photos of a smiling Jesse – admitted she didn’t know “how to feel”.
“I am numb,” she said.
Van Boven also has a previous conviction for aggravated robbery.
Ambrose has previous convictions for drug possession and gun possession.